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Author Topic: Multicellular Prokaryotes  (Read 13063 times)

Offline Supercryptid

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Multicellular Prokaryotes
« on: 15/09/2004 16:59:40 »
Eukaryotic organisms (whose cells have membrane-bound organelles) such as protists, fungi, animals and plants can be multicellular. However, eukaryotes are the only cell type that has developed into multicellular organisms (so far as I know). That being said, why haven't prokaryotic organisms (whose cells don't have membrane-bound organelles) developed into multicellular forms? They always exist as unicellular eubacteria or archaea. Is there any particular biological reason that prokaryotes never developed into multicellular lifeforms? Is their cellular design too inefficient to do it, or is it just a coincidence that they never evolved that way?

Also, if a multicellular prokaryotic organism did exist, why properties or behavior would you expect it to have?


 

Offline MayoFlyFarmer

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Re: Multicellular Prokaryotes
« Reply #1 on: 17/09/2004 05:37:57 »
Well, all evolution is just "cooincedence" to some extent, so in part that's correct.  However, I think it is more likely that we developed into multi-celular beings because our more complexly organized cells are more designed to specialize.  Once an organism reaches the size where pasive diffusion isn't good enough fo supplying it with oxygen, it needs to start specializing its cells to do certain tasks.  I don't think prokaryotic cells are geared for thie very well.
Perhaps they've just never needed to.

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Offline Ylide

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Re: Multicellular Prokaryotes
« Reply #2 on: 19/09/2004 20:12:01 »
One of prokaryotes' advantages is that they have a HUGE surface area to volume ratio compared to eukaryotes.  This lets them transport materials in and out of the cell at much faster rates, hence their relatively quick reproductive cycle.  

Making them multicellular starts taking away frmo the surface area that is exposed to the environment, detracting from this advantage.  And as mayoflyfarmer said, prokaryotic cells are less apt to specialize like eukaryotic cells.  

However, something to bear in mind is the theory that modern eukaryotic cells evolved from a fusion of prokaryotic and eukaryotic ancestors.  Mitochondria bear a striking resemblance in size and shape to certain bacteria, as do chloroplasts.  There is a good deal of evidence that current eukaryotic life became as advanced as it has because of this merger of both cell types, allowing for the very energy-efficient processes of photosynthesis and aerobic respiration.

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Re: Multicellular Prokaryotes
« Reply #2 on: 19/09/2004 20:12:01 »

 

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